MIAA Football Breakdown
Wide receiver Josh Crockett, 6, runs the ball during a Fall 2016 football game at Wantland Stadium. (Provided/ Vista Archives).
As the University of Central Oklahoma prepares for the upcoming season they have the task of competing in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA), who has sent numerous teams deep into the playoffs.
12 teams play in the MIAA conference and six had a winning record last season. Three teams, the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats, Central Missouri Mules and Emporia State Hornets all made the playoffs with Northwest Missouri State claiming their second straight national championship. Both Fort Hays State and Washburn played in a post season bowl game.
The MIAA has won five national championships since 2006 with four belonging to Northwest Missouri State and one to Pittsburgh State.
“We know that if you get into the playoffs from our conference that you have a chance to win the whole thing,” Head Coach Nick Bobeck said.
The Bronchos were picked eighth in the Coaches Poll and seventh in the Media Poll.
“You have a different set of challenges you have to face each and every week,” said UCO Quarterback, Chas Stallard about having to prepare for MIAA opponents.
One challenge is having to stop opposing offenses. Northwest Missouri State and Pitt State averaged more than 40 points per game. The Bearcats were the fifth best scoring offense in the entire country, with Pitt State finishing close behind as the thirteenth best scoring offense in the nation. Other offenses in the MIAA including, Central Missouri, Emporia State and Missouri Western all averaged over 30 points per game.
“It takes every guy doing their job,” Broncho’s Defensive Tackle, Carson Smith said about stopping opposing offenses in the MIAA.
On defense, Northwest Missouri State led the conference only allowing 12 points a game, with five other teams in the conference giving up fewer than 30 points a game. Defenses in the MIAA also racked up a high number of interceptions as nine teams had more than 10 interceptions, led by Emporia State who had 21. However, Northwest Missouri State held was the lone MIAA team to hold opponents under 350 yards a game.
“There’s a lot of speed and a lot of strength,” Stallard said about MIAA defenses.
On the special teams side Fort Hayes State, Pitt State, and Central Missouri all had a kick return for a touchdown, with the Bronchos ranking fourth in both kick and punt return yards.
The Bronchos look to take the first step toward a playoff spot when they open the season against Lindenwood.